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What are Genes?

A gene is a length of DNA forming part of a chromosome. In humans there are about 20,000-25,000 different genes arranged among the 23 pairs of chromosomes.


What do Genes do?

Genes contain the code to make proteins, which are involved in the development and functioning of body organs and systems. Proteins are essential to life and have many functions in the body, for example, as enzymes, regulators and structural molecules.

Genes are also the units of heredity by which characteristics, such as eye colour and blood group, are passed from one generation to the next.

How to use this site

There are a number of interactive features in this e-source:

  • A glossary of terms: any word with a glossary entry is highlighted like this.
  • Quick questions: at the end of each page or section there is a set of quick questions to test your understanding.
  • Animations: most of the animations can be expanded to full screen size, ideal for showing on an interactive whiteboard. The animations will play all the way through or can be viewed one section at a time.
  • Downloads: Teachers can download individual diagrams, animations and other content from the Download Library area of the website. Terms and Conditions apply.